Student political clubs ‘busier than ever’
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 07:09
The 2012 presidential election is around the corner, and the West Virginia University College Republican and Democrat clubs are busier than ever.
Each organization is unique in its own way, with both their ideals and their goals. The WVU Chapter of Young Democrats is part of a national organization, and is the largest chapter in the state.
"Our meetings are largely a way to relay information to our members and to offer volunteer opportunities," said club president Tyler George. "We set aside a portion of our meetings to talk politics and allow people to speak freely."
George, a senior from Elkins, W.Va., has been involved in the WVU Democrat organization since his freshman year.
The organization – with approximately 40 members – was larger than George anticipated and had to move its meetings to a bigger room to accommodate everyone’s needs.
George said his organization has been actively participating in the 2012 presidential campaign.
"Right now we are making phone calls to Ohio voters. We call the people that visit our website and that express an interest in voting," he said. "Then we help them with their paperwork and make sure that they are able to vote and have the proper identification."
The group also will be helping WVU students register to vote. They are focused on reaching out to freshman dorm residents, as they will be eligible to vote – provided they have lived instate for 30 days.
"Though we are part of the democrat society, we try to help students register and vote in a non-partisan manner," George said.
One of George’s proudest moments during his four years as a member was when he, along with his peers, helped more than 2,000 students register to vote in 2010.
"It means a lot to me to be the president because I’ve been involved since I was a freshman," he said. "I’ve seen the organization grow, so I have been able to pick out flaws and things we did right and incorporate them together."
Anyone interested in joining the WVU Chapter of Young Democrats should email email@example.com or attend a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursdays in the Greenbrier room.
Jared Bedekovich, President of The College Republicans of WVU, said his program is committed to the ideals his party.
"Our goal is getting more people involved in Republican ideals and spreading that message around campus," he said.
Bedekovich, a senior from Williamstown, W.Va., transferred from Marshall and has been at WVU for two years. He has been involved in the republican organizations at both campuses.
College Republicans of WVU has about 35 members.
"We help out local, state and national republican candidates and the greater Morgantown community," Bedekovich said.
In the next month, Republican club members will head to Pittsburgh to knock on doors and spread the word about the Romney campaign.
For the past two months, the club has also knocked on doors to help West Virginia congressman David McKinley in his re-election campaign.
"Since it’s a presidential election year, the main focus is on Romney. We want to get as much information out as we can to persuade people to vote for him," Bedekovich said.
The organization also frequently participates in community service, though most of the work will begin after the election.
The College Republican National Committee covers the cost of being a member at WVU, so there are no dues or fees to join.
"It is a nice responsibility to be able to go out and show college-aged kids – who are usually liberal – facts and statistics that help them realize that Republican ideals would better suit them," Bedekovich said. "It also gives me the opportunity to be involved in something that I really care about."
Anyone interested in joining the College Republicans of WVU should email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in the Greenbrier room.